Spiritual Formation

Pumpkin Spice

"I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables by Captain Stephanie Pavlakis
pumpkin spice latte

Autumn is my favorite season. As the weather becomes cooler and the days grow shorter, Earth does a wardrobe change. Bright green leaves and blooming flowers are exchanged for red, orange and yellow foliage. Animals build their stores for the winter and prepare their winter coats. It’s as if nature wraps itself in a warm hug and invites us in, even as the skies darken and the air chills. And we gladly join in, exchanging our t-shirts and sunglasses for sweaters and scarves. Beach trips with friends are swapped for pumpkin farm visits and hot chocolate with family. The beauty of autumn moves from the woods to farms and coffee shops, to our own homes and hearts.

As I celebrate in being able to pull on my heavy wool sweater again and cozy up with a pumpkin spice latte, I am reminded of the clothing God offers us. In trading wardrobes from what we had made ourselves to survive in the world to the luxury clothing God has made available to us, He instructs us to “clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience … Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12, 14). These are the clothes that represent a changing of seasons. Spiritual formation requires ongoing transformation, becoming less of who we were and more of who God has enabled us to become. 

It is drawing nearer to Him and farther from our own selfishness and desires. It is loving God and others until we find that His will has become our own. Becoming so much like Him that when the world looks at what we are wearing, they automatically associate it with the Creator and Designer of our clothing.

Tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love. Those who wear these outfits are beautiful. They walk through the world as if they are wrapped in a warm hug and want to invite everyone else in. They are all the good things of autumn. By the help of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to shed our clothing of past seasons and wear something new and beautiful. To proudly show the label on our clothing so all the world can know where it comes from. The Creator of autumn offers us a wardrobe change. We just have to put it on. 

Experiencing GOD:

  • What are your favorite autumn traditions? How can God speak to you through these?
  • In transitioning to cooler weather clothing, consider the attributes of God shared in Colossians 3:12-13. Which of these come easier to you? Which are more challenging? Ask God to help you wear all these attributes regularly this season.

Supporting Scripture: 

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

Colossians 3:12-14

Captain Stephanie Pavlakis is the corps officer at Seattle Temple. Images via Getty Images.